City mulls deer removal


Also at the meeting

At its regular Tuesday meeting, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 7-0, Oct. 12 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 7-0, renewal of the hotel and restaurant liquor license for the Ocean Pearl at 441 W. Victory Way. No cause was shown for denial.

• Approved, 7-0, renewal of the tavern liquor license for the O.P. Bar & Grill at 534 E. Victory Way. No cause was shown for denial.

• Approved, 7-0, renewal of the retail liquor license for Loadout Liquors at 1800 W. Victory Way. No cause was shown for denial.

• Tabled an approval of a special events permit for the Cowboy Christmas at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. No representation was present.

• Approved, 7-0, a resolution to support the Moffat County High School Student Council’s Every Student Will Graduate program.

• Approved, 7-0, a proclamation declaring November as Colorado Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness month in Craig.

• Considered a request from Scott McKinney for reimbursement of street improvement costs on Steele Street, but no action was taken.

• Approved, 7-0, to award a bid for sewer main replacement to Anson Excavating & Pipe, Inc. totaling $59,500.

• Approved, 7-0, to accept the state land board sale price of sludge pond land for the wastewater department at $125,000 and purchase the 39.91 acres of land.

• Approved, 7-0, to not renew a membership with the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado for 2011.

• Heard a presentation from Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner about possible changes to the local social services department from the state level.

• Introduced ordinance No. 1009 to adopt the 2011 city budget.

• Heard a financial report for September from finance director Bruce Nelson.

The Craig City Council chambers were almost filled Tuesday with residents interested in hearing and weighing in on a proposal regarding management of the urban deer in Craig.

During a public work session hosted before the city council’s regular Tuesday meeting, the Colorado Division of Wildlife presented the about 50 residents with three options for helping curb the amount of urban deer living in city limits.

After the meeting, Craig Mayor Don Jones said the council would move forward with a form of deer removal in the city, but was unsure of how the removal would take place.

“With the support that we had tonight, we’ll move forward with it,” he said. “We’ll discuss all the options.”

Ron Velarde, DOW Northwest Regional Manager, said the deer “problem” in Craig has been escalating the last several years.

Before Velarde and Bill deVergie, DOW Area Wildlife Manager, presented residents with the three options the DOW could take for removing a large portion of the city’s deer, Velarde said the DOW would need community support.

“We need buy in if any of this is going to succeed,” Velarde said. “We need the support of the city council, the mayor, the chief of police and obviously the majority of the support of the people in the city.

“Without that support, it is not going to fly.”

The first option deVergie presented is to establish a hunting area outside of the city limits.

The hunt would be limited to private land, be by permission only and possibly be through archery hunting, deVergie said. He also said the hunt could last from the end of November through December.

“The thought is that we are hopefully reducing the number of deer in the close proximity of Craig, which then hopefully reflects on the number of deer that might be migrating or moving into Craig,” he said.

The second option, deVergie said, was to start a deer trapping program. Once the deer were trapped, he said, they would be taken out of the city and killed.

The DOW would seek to place the deer traps in open spaces, vacant lots, parks and the backyards of residents who give approval. The meat from the deer would then be donated to a community food bank, deVergie said.

The third option, deVergie said, would be to find specific locations in the city to bait and attract deer at night. A team of trained marksmen would then kill and remove the deer from the city, he said.

Velarde said he hopes the city and city council would give the DOW permission to perform all three options.

“One is not going to do it,” he said. “We would prefer that we do all the options … at the same time this year if we are going to make (some) impact on the deer in the City of Craig.”

After the DOW has performed the three measures, Velarde said he hoped the city would establish a regular deer hunting season outside of the city.

Velarde said the DOW would not kill all of the deer in the city at one time, but rather kill 50 to 75 percent of the deer now and keep their numbers low with the regular hunting season.

One thing residents can do to help in the meantime, deVergie said, would be to reduce deer attractions, such as feeding of the deer. He said there have been reports of Craig residents feeding deer, which he reminded the audience is against the law.

Velarde said anytime deer are killed in city limits, there is controversy.

“What we are looking for is support from the city and the city council,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with my officers coming in here and doing this, but I think this needs to be a collaborative effort.”

Jones said there are “too many” deer in the city and three dogs had been killed over the summer by aggressive deer.

Jones said he recognized there are some Craig residents who would prefer the deer remain in the city.

“But, it is not fair for the majority of people to have to worry about animals, wild animals in their backyards,” he said.

Residents spoke about safety issues the deer cause to dogs, children and seniors.

However, several residents spoke against the deer removal option, advocating for consideration of other measures.

Jones encouraged residents to voice their opinions by writing the city council a letter and submitting it to Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth Street, or by using the city’s website at


Becky Plummer 8 years, 1 month ago

You have got to be kidding!!! What next giant fences surrounding the city to keep these viscious beasts out of town?? Maybe you could spend more time keeping sex offenders off the streets and less time on something as natural as deer in our mountainious region.


Colette Erickson 8 years, 1 month ago

Has anyone considered the possibility that these "aggressive" deer feel cornered, threatened, etc. and are merely doing what they think is necessary to protect themselves or their young? Just as w/ any animal you don't know - give them some space! And, keep your dogs away from them. We are supposed to be the ones w/ the "big brains". Use them.


leterbuck 8 years, 1 month ago

Do not allow this!! Get a hold of the Mayor Don Jones.. This is sick and wrong. Here is the site:


btyjo77 8 years, 1 month ago

I agree with metoo, however, if they must be killed I would hope they'd open it up to hunting rather than just killing them and allowing the meat to go to waste! What a shame the community has complained so much to allow this to happen. MOVE AWAY to a gated community if you don't like it here people! I for one live here because of the wildlife and you all know they were here first. We developed their land and destroyed their homes. Get out there and catch some drug dealers, sex offenders and by all means keep those code enforcement officers out there with their rulers to make sure my weeds are not an inch over code. :!!!!!!!


als362 8 years, 1 month ago

I think that if someone wants to have the deer removed from their property, they should pay all costs assossiated with that removal process.
Then when the deer return in 2 weeks they can pay to have them removed again.
And after there is an accident because someone for an unknown reason decided to allow deer hunts within the city limits and in a residential area, they can pay for the lawsuit that will surely follow that accident. Then those that have some idea that the deer can be removed can be the ones to go bankrupt doing it and not the city.


leterbuck 8 years, 1 month ago

Are there any morals left in people anymore?? Move if the deer are so threatning!! We can't have anyones dog stomped to death, that would be a tragity. 30 deer to save a dog. I thought dogs where to be shot by the game warden if they are caught chasing any game animals, on the spot. I see it fair, if a dog is chasing deer, then by all rights the deer are going to turn and defend itself. This is the only case that a dog would be trampled!! This is insanity, leave the deer alone, spend the tax dollars on ketching real threats to the residents, like rapests, drug dealers, theaves and child mollesters. What a joke.


Harlan 8 years, 1 month ago

Did any of you attend this meeting last night? I would be suprised if any of the above authors could honestly answer "yes".


Nadja Rider 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm going to guess that most of the responses on here are from people who do not have yards. It's not a mere $20 worth of petunias that they eat in a yard, they are capable of eating hundreds if not thousands of $$ worth of shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, etc., Not to mention the damage they do when they rub their velvet off their antlers. My yard has scarred trees, as do many in Craig.

And before anybody gets excited and tells me that deer were here before I was, I'll tell you that I have lived in my house for 30+ years and it has not been a problem until the last 10 years or so.

Take a look around Craig, we're not a metropolitan area - we're surrounded by thousands of acres of open land. The problem is that we've allowed the deer to become comfortable in town and they became too tame and used to people. They do not belong in town.

And for all the comments that they're not dangerous, I disagree. Deer can be very dangerous during their fall rut and when does have new fawns. They are very capable of stomping a dog to death. What do you think would happen if a child innocently approached a threatened deer?

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy all our wildlife. It's always been a thrill to have them so close to watch, but they need to be retrained so they stay on the outskirts of town where they belong. Sadly the deer that have made downtown Craig their home, don't know anything else. They've been allowed to raise many generations in town.

Lastly, the deer I see wandering around downtown really do not look healthy. Don't know if it's all the inbreeding or their diet of flowers and shrubbery.

I'm glad the problem is finally being addressed.


cag81625 8 years, 1 month ago

The habitat created by the city results in an artificially elevated carrying capacity. The amount of food combined with the lack of any sort of predation (hunting or otherwise) means that the capacity of the population in town to just continue to grow is far greater than in any sort of "natural" scenario in which many of you seem to think still exists on the corner of Yampa and 6th. I have not heard anyone seriously say that there could or should be the complete elimination of deer in town. However, if nothing is done, the population will continue to increase to the point that some other means of control (i.e. disease, really hard winter) will result in more than a few carcasses laying around. Then what will folks say? No one has a problem with population management of wildlife outside of town (both for the sake of the animals and for the sake of agriculture), but why does this concept seem to end at the city limit? If man doesn't take some measure of control of the deer in town, nature will and natures means will be quite messy, I assure you.


als362 8 years, 1 month ago

To nadja: The reason the deer are in town because there is better feed for them to eat here. It has nothing to do with what you think has been allowed.
The deer belong where ever they decide to be. This is their environment, we as humans have invaded it, not the other way around.
The deer are going to be in town no matter what is done because of the better food available. Also there are many people that feed the deer. This is against the law. I think the sentence for a first offense of feeding the deer should be a fine of $500.00, second offense $1000.00, third offense, a week in jail. That should help curb the feeding of the deer. Unless you intend to eliminate every deer in a 20 mile radius of Craig, nothing will work to reduce the population because other deer will move in when some are moved out or killed. As far as you trees go I invite you to stop by my property and look how I have stopped the deer from scraping on my trees. It is very inexpensive, causes no mowing problems for me and the deer no longer scrape my trees. Email me at and I will give you directions to my place. When it comes to your children, I suggest you teach them to leave the deer alone, not expect the government to hold your hand and do it for you. And as far as you dog goes, you need to train it as well. Please don't expect everyone else to do these things for you. If they are your kids, and your dog, it is your responsibility. In closing if you don't want to live near wildlife, you either need to move to another location where there is no wildlife, or surround yourself with an inpenitrable barrier that nothing can get through.


Nadja Rider 8 years, 1 month ago


I don't live in town, I live in Ridgeview. We moved into our current home over 30 years ago when there were only 4 houses here and surrounded by fields. Even then we didn't have a problem with deer in our yard, and didn't for about 20 years. They stayed in the fields around us, and did not bother our newly planted yard. On the overall, I don't think Ridgeview has as big a deer problem as downtown Craig does. I believe the deer in town have simply acclimated to humans. If they are indeed being fed by people, that needs to stop immediately and anyone feeding them should be heavily fined! Deer are wild and should remain that way, feeding them is harmful.

No longer have kids or dogs at home. Deer do jump fences and bucks get a bit crazy during the rut. I was challenged by one last fall in my own yard.

I love the wildlife here, but there needs to be some distance between humans and wildlife. There was in the past, and I'm not sure what has changed, other than the deer find the food in yards easier pickings than foraging in the fields. So in that respect, I do believe the deer in town have developed some very bad habits.


als362 8 years, 1 month ago

I just don't understand this idea of trying to relocate or kill the deer.
Look at every poster, or advertisement for the City of Craig and somewhere on it is a photo of the wildlife. It is one of the things this area is about.
That is why in the mid 80's an outdoor magazine called northwest Colorado the "deer factory", and hunters came here in droves because of that statement. That is why one of our own coined the phrase "elk capital of the world".
Wildlife is part of the life blood of this area, and how many make thier living. I cannot understand why anyone would want to destroy that.
I have read many of the comments written here and I still cannot see any reason to kill or attempt to move the deer.
In the first place it won't work. Any deer killed or relocated will be replaced by another in a very short time. Secondly it is a terrible waste of tax dollars.
We have some odd ideas going on in Craig right now. We have people that want to vote down free money from a lodging tax and waste other tax dollars on a fools parade by trying to eliminate the deer.


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